HONG KONG (AP) Top-ranked Angelique Kerber overcame five double-faults and fought off eight break points before beating Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round of the Hong Kong Open on Tuesday.
Kerber is trying to win her fourth title of the year. She will next play Louisa Chirico of the United States.
Fifth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki also advanced to the second round, beating Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-4, and seventh-seeded Jelena Jankovic defeated Samantha Crawford 6-3, 6-1.
Samantha Stosur, seeded fourth, lost to Nao Hibino of Japan 6-3, 6-4.
LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.
At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.
The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.
Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.
“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.
Tennis Australia on Friday said No. 12-ranked Kuznetsova and China’s Sasai Zheng, with a right knee injury, were the only players ranked in the top 100 who are confirmed as not playing the Jan. 15-28 tournament at Melbourne Park.
Serena Williams, who was pregnant while winning the 2017 Australian Open title and gave birth to her first child in September, “is anticipated to return,” Tennis Australia said.
Williams could equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with another win at Melbourne Park. Serena Williams’ ranking has dropped to No. 22 during her break from the tour.